Bali—a word that has almost become synonymous to an island of tropical paradise. About an hour and a half from Jakarta, the island of Bali is the main destination of pleasure tourists to Indonesia. The main draws of this island include its vibrant art culture, friendly people, natural scenic beauty, ancient temples and gorgeous tropical beaches.
Bali retains a culture very distinct from the rest of Indonesia due to its unique type of Hinduism called “Hindu Darma.” While the rest of Java turned to Islam in the early days, the Balinese, isolated and hidden by a cluster of mountains and volcanoes managed to preserve their traditional customs in family and community life.
Bali is famous for its beautiful landscape and awesome beaches. Six volcanoes fill the horizon from the west to the east. One of the volcanoes is the active Mount Agung, which the Balinese consider sacred. And the coasts and seashores are tourist meccas for people out to get some sun.
In addition to the beaches, Bali also boasts of lush tropical forests, clear volcano crater lakes, fast flowing rivers, and numerous vegetable and fruit orchards.
Tropical plants fill the island. From huge banyan trees, to fruit bearing tamarind trees and coconut palms and more varieties of bamboo than you could count. Trees that are just perfect for an afternoon shade or for hanging up hammocks in which to laze the sultry days away are found in abundance on the island. Almost everywhere you look is filled with flowers. Bougainvilleas, magnolias, hibiscus and orchids thrive exceptionally well in the temperate climate.
After trekking through the island, one could head for the beaches in the south. Their white sand and clear waters, offering a truly restful and cool break.
With so many beautiful beaches to choose from, it is almost difficult to pick just one to laze about in. To help tourists out, here are Bali’s top three beaches:
Set at the foot of Mount Agung, Candi Dasa is the name of a temple complex on a lagoon by the edge of the sea. The white sandy beach of the temple is only visible when the tide is out but the grassy foreshore and beach are fantastic places to bathe in the sun.
The beach is an excellent base for day trips around Eastern Bali, Tenganan, Goa Lawah, and Amlapura. Boats may be hired to take visitors to good diving and snorkeling spots including the ruins of a sunken US World War II ship.
Other beaches worth a visit are Lovina Beach west of Singaraja, Pantai Seseh found south of Tanah Lot and the Tegal Besar Beach found near the Banjarangkan village which lures tourists with its natural beauty and fishing boat trips.
For a taste of Balinese culture, one can drop by the Ubud Museum, which houses a permanent collection of island art dating from the turn of the century.
The village of Mas is also worth exploring. Known as the village of wood carvers, Mas is home to many of Bali’s old masters. Here, tourists can get to watch the artisans at work. It is also fun to explore the Balinese style houses and their intricately carved details.
While elephants and tigers don’t exist any more on the island, the forest abounds with monkeys, civets, barking deer, mouse deer and some 300 species of birds which include blue king fishers, white herons and sparrows.
On the diving sites of Lovina, Candi Dasa and Padangbai, schools of dolphins are commonly seen, along with the ever-present and colorful coral fishes.
- A good bathing suit to show of that tan
- Sunscreen and tanning oil
- A good cover up for walking around the island
- Mosquito repellent for those pesky ever present pests on tropical islands
- Lip balm
- A spirit for fun and the funds to go with it